Kevin Hart Recalls Wanda Sykes Advising Him After Homophobic Jokes Resurfaced: ‘I Couldn’t Ignore That’

The 44-year-old continues to reflect on how the controversy affected his life and what he learned in its aftermath.

Man in patchwork sweater and woman in white blazer stand separately for photos
Getty Images: Alan Chapman/Dave Benett / WireImage; Dan Doperalski/Golden Globes 2024
Man in patchwork sweater and woman in white blazer stand separately for photos

Six years after Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the Academy Awards due to problematic jokes resurfacing, he reflects on the person who put everything into perspective for him.

In a new interview with Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes, the comedian remembered “the best lightbulb ever”: Wanda Sykes.

“Wanda Sykes said, ‘There’s people that are being hurt today because of comments like the ones that you made then. And there’s people that were saying it’s okay to make those comments today based off of what you did then,’” Hart recalled. 

“In those moments of despair, great understanding, and education can come out of it if you're given the opportunity,” says Kevin Hart, whose comments about the gay community onstage and on Twitter sparked a controversy.

— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 21, 2024
Twitter: @60Minutes

Among the controversial jokes and posts included tweets about his disgust over potentially having a gay son and saying someone’s profile photo looked like “a gay bill board for AIDS.” 

Clips from his 2010 stand-up special Seriously Funny also surfaced where he continued riffing off the bit about his hypothetical gay son, saying he would “knock them both down” if he saw his son grinding with another boy.

According to 44-year-old Hart, his fellow comedian/actor/host Sykes, 60, put everything into perspective for him. “It was presented to me in a way where I couldn’t ignore that," he told Cooper. "So in those moments of despair, great understanding and education can come out of it, if you’re given the opportunity.”

After Hart came under fire for his past comments, he initially refused to apologize despite the Academy giving him an ultimatum. “This is not the first time this has come up,” he said in an Instagram video in 2018. “I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were.”

The following day, he tweeted an apology and stepped down from hosting duties. His reasoning was that he didn’t “want to be a distraction on the night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.” He went on to apologize to the LGBTQ+ community and said “My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart.”

Hart has continued to discuss the controversy and how it affected him, most recently telling WSJ Magazine that it was a “come-to-Jesus moment” for him.

Latest in Pop Culture